Title- A River Enchanted
Book of the Month membership selection
Author- Rebecca Ross
Genre- Unique fantasy that’s hard to describe (folktale)
POV- 3rd person, too many POV (5 total I think0
Trope- forbidden love, but this is NOT a romance
Cover– After I selected this novel, I saw a new cover was released, which I prefer much more
Comps– A mix of The Nature of Witches, Where the Crawdads Sing and Lovely Bones
Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in 10 long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.
First chapter- Jack is already likeable and we see her personality by jumping out of the boat. The birds of history given weren’t too much or confusing and the dialogue was nice and medium paced and felt realistic. I’m already intrigued by the potential with Adaira and invested that the town’s girls are going missing. I’m eager to know more about the four elemental spirits and how they play a role. Also, I could visually picture the scene really well, especially when they were rocking on the boat and a creature tapped below. Great beginning.
Character Development- Jack needed to learn he was worthy of love, but that felt unfinished. I assumed he was the main character, but that became muddled as it went along
Best part- the story-telling elements
What I would change- no head hopping mid-chapter
Quote- “I am but a verse inspired by your chorus, and I will follow you until the end, when the isle takes my bones and my name is nothing more than a remembrance on a headstone, next to yours.”
Setting- The setting was brilliant and its own character, possibly the strongest character
Prose- above average
Character goals/motivations- save the missing girls
Theme- can we forgive our enemies? Can we use our skills to heal instead of harm?
Vivid sensory descriptions- yes
Dialogue- below average
Inclusivity- Unsure of character ethnicities or if they matter in this world. I don’t recall varied shades of skin tones. No recollection of MM or FF or other relationships encouraged or addressed.
Ethics/morals- child abduction
Thoughts while reading-
Page 37- I dont like POV switches mid-chapters
Chapter 2- so why did Adaira summon him when Jack assumed it was Alastair? Who is Jack’s father? Is his mother still alive? Why are there raids? How will his harp help with the girls disappearing?
Page 76- I love the mini chapter cliff-hangers. Wasn’t expecting Frae!
Page 83- another mid-chapter POV switch that I don’t like so I’ll stop commenting on it, but it’s a brand new POV that we haven’t seen yet, Torin. This is the 3rd total so I’m hoping there’s not more later.
Page 118- I love how the wind carries voices and secrets in their land like how the character, Isaac, in my work in progress, whispers to Kyra.
Page 148- is this foreshadowing…? because it was totally my guess earlier!
Page 154- the theme of this book of child abduction is my worst free in life and usually on my only “will not read” list. For some reason it was tolerable when it was possibly a spirit as the villain. Now that things have changed I’m nervous about continuing.
Chapter 10- 4th POV now.
Page 226- it’s refreshing that it was straightforward and the characters don’t play nonsensical games with one another
Halfway- I love the story telling element and prose. It’s a slower paced novel overall but gets me excited about The Queen’s Rising series that I have yet to read by this same author.
Page 227- 5th POV (Frae). I wish there weren’t so many.
Page 297- Why? How? What is the goal of the Breccans? Who took them anyways? Why only one? So many questions but I can’t give spoilers!
Page 348- I guessed such
Page 351- it feels like the character arc and basis of the story is more about Torin and Sidra than Jack and Adaira
Page 369- oh I guessed that too!!!
Ending- extremely mad in the last two pages. I would’ve given it a higher rating if the character made a different choice.